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China Daily:Visit launched thriving 'Golden Era'

2017-10-09

  

The Hinkley Point C nuclear power project, which Chinese companies invested in, is under construction in western England in August.Han Yan / Xinhua

Xi's historic 2015 UK trip continues to bear fruit, ambassador says

Almost two years ago, President Xi Jinping made a historic state visit to the United Kingdom, heralding a "Golden Era" for China-UK relations.

That visit, from Oct 19 to 23 in 2015, at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II, was a milestone because its significance extends well beyond our times, said Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to the UK, ahead of the visit's two year anniversary.

Liu accompanied Xi throughout his UK visit. "President Xi's 'super state visit' to the UK had a 'super impact' on China-UK relations," the veteran diplomat said. "Internationally, Xi's visit was a courageous effort to build a new type of major country relationship."

Looking back, he said, Xi's visit has had three highlights, which he summarized as three "supers": that is, "super program", "super outcomes" and "super significance".

By "super program", Liu refers to Xi's tight schedule. In five days, Xi attended more than 30 events. His trip took him not only to the capital city of London, but also other parts of Britain. His itinerary also included towns and villages. His schedule maintained a tight political agenda and light interaction with the public.

The "super outcomes" refers to 59 deals reached during Xi's visit, including 13 intergovernmental and noncommercial agreements, 28 commercial contracts worth 40 billion pounds ($52.28 billion), as well as 18 other outcomes.

The signing of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project was a milestone, with a Chinese nuclear company making its first-ever entry into a developed country's market. There were breakthroughs in financial services cooperation marked by the expansion of the scale of currency swap, the launch of the feasibility study on Shanghai-London Stock Connect, and China's agreement to make London the place of issue for its first RMB sovereign bond outside China.

Liu said the state visit has "super significance" as the human touch of Xi's UK trip was a fine example of public diplomacy.

From the royal carriages to the Plough in Cadsden, from the Indian pale ale with fish and chips to the iconic Sergio Aguero selfie, numerous eye-catching moments made headlines and became media focal points.

"President Xi mentioned many British household names in his speeches, from Byron, Shelley and Dickens, to Harry Potter, Sherlock and Downton Abbey, and felt instantly close to the British public. This visit created huge enthusiasm across Britain for learning about China in greater depth," Liu said.

"The role of this visit in building stronger public support for closer China-UK cooperation cannot be overstated," he said.

During the state visit, China and the UK committed to building a global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st Century.

As permanent members of the UN Security Council and countries of global influence, China and the UK shoulder responsibilities for advancing world peace and development.

Liu said that the China-UK "Golden Era" is a successful practice of China's vision for state-to-state ties, namely, "a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation".

"It is a fine example of how the emerging and established powers can work together to build a new type of relationship in which they deepen mutual trust, engage in healthy interaction and pursue win-win cooperation," Liu said.

Over the past year, President Xi and Prime Minister Theresa May have maintained close personal contact since she formed a new government after the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

Looking ahead, the diplomat said that Brexit is bringing uncertainties and instabilities, but the shared goal of China and the UK to build a "Golden Era" remains unchanged.

He noted that May is planning a visit to China before the end of this year. "I have confidence that such a visit will give new impetus to the China-UK relationship and allow the 'Golden Era' to endure," Liu said.

Liu said the coming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, beginning on Oct 18, will take stock of our development experience and formulate the program and policies for the future. China's peaceful development will offer more opportunities for the world, Britain included, he said.